For Lotus, it has always been about weight and the minimization thereof. Most cars that the small-scale British manufacturer releases are studies in putting power to the ground in the most tactical way possible, shedding pounds and finding creative ways to cheat the wind. The newly announced Lotus 3-Eleven 430, an updated version of the 3-Eleven, is no different.
In Lotus-speak, the name Eleven carries a lot of weight (just not literally). The first Lotus Eleven was built to race in the 1950s, and the name was revived for the 2-Eleven track toy in 2007. The 3-Eleven, revealed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, came in 2015. All three were permanently topless, extremely lightweight, and meant to destroy higher-powered vehicles on the racetrack. Now, before going all in on its ambitions under new parent company Geely, including an SUV (!), Lotus is giving the 3-Eleven an even more focused version as a sendoff.
Lotus says the 3-Eleven 430 is the quickest road car the company has yet built. It pairs a six-speed manual transmission with the supercharged 3.5-liter V-6 first deployed in the Evora 400 (the only road-legal car it sells in the United States), but the engine has been tweaked and tuned to produce a claimed 430 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. That falls between the race-ready and roadgoing versions of the 3-Eleven that Lotus previously offered. The Race model claimed up to 460 horses, while the Road version made 410. Lotus claims the 3-Eleven 430 will shoot from zero to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and can hit 180 mph.
The company also says the 3-eleven 430 weighs only 2028 pounds, compared with the 1962-pound Race and 2039-pound Road models (for reference, our 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata weighed 2324 pounds). The low mass can be attributed to the carbon composite bodywork and the aluminum structure, as well as extensive use of carbon fiber throughout the minimalist cabin.
Lotus raised the height of the rear wing by two inches and revised the end plates. Working together with a front splitter, a front lip spoiler, a flat underside, and a rear diffuser, the 3-Eleven 430 achieves a claimed 584 pounds of downforce, about 94 pounds more than the standard Road model, at top speed. Stopping power comes courtesy of AP Racing’s four-piston calipers and its two-piece J-hook discs at all four wheels.
Lotus also promises bonkers cornering abilities from the 3-Eleven 430, with maximum lateral grip of up to 1.5 g. Enablers include Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, 225/40R-18 up front and 275/35R-19 in the rear, plus a Torsen-type limited-slip differential, Öhlins DFV one-way adjustable dampers, Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars, and six-position variable traction control.
Only 20 copies of the 3-Eleven 430 will be built for worldwide sale at the equivalent of about $142,000, including tax.